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The Christian Year

by Blessed John Keble 


Why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into Heaven. Acts i. 11. 
SOFT cloud, that while the breeze of May 
Chants her glad matins in the leafy arch, 
Draw’st thy bright veil across the heavenly way, 
Meet pavement for an angel’s glorious march: 

My soul is envious of mine eye, 
That it should soar and glide with thee so fast, 
The while my groveling thoughts half buried lie, 
Or lawless roam around this earthly waste. 

Chains of my heart, avaunt I say— 
I will arise, and in the strength of love 
Pursue the bright track ere it fade away, 
My Saviour’s pathway to his home above. 

Sure, when I reach the point where earth 
Melts into nothing from th’ uncumber’d sight, 
Heaven will o’ercome th’ attraction of my birth, 
And I shall sink in yonder sea of light: 

Till resting by th’ incarnate LORD, 
Once bleeding, now triumphant for my sake, 
I mark him, how by seraph hosts ador’d 
He to earth’s lowest cares is still awake. 

The sun and every vassal star, 
All space, beyond the soar of Angel wings, 
Wait on His word: and yet he stays his car 
For every sigh a contrite suppliant brings. 

He listens to the silent tear 
For all the anthems of the boundless sky— 
And shall our dreams of music bar our ear 
To His soul-piercing voice for ever nigh? 

Nay, gracious Saviour—but as now 
Our thoughts have trac’d thee to thy glory-throne, 
So help us evermore with thee to bow 
Where human sorrow breathes her lowly moan. 

We must not stand to gaze too long, 
Though on unfolding Heaven our gaze we bend, 
Where lost behind the bright angelic throng 
We see CHRIST’S entering triumph slow ascend. 

No fear but we shall soon behold, 
Faster than now it fades, that gleam revive, 
When issuing from his cloud of fiery gold 
Our wasted frames feel the true sun, and live. 

Then shall we see Thee as Thou art, 
For ever fix’d in no unfruitful gaze, 
But such as lifts the new-created heart, 
Age after age, in worthier love and praise.

Used with permission from the Project Canterbury website.  Transcribed by Julia Beth Bruskin.